The New York Rangers face off against the Calgary Flames in Calgary tonight. The Rangers are coming off their first win of the season, and are looking to keep the momentum rolling against a team that they haven’t beaten on the road since 2002.
The Rangers are ranked twenty-third in the NHL with a goals per game average of just 2.25. That includes what can only be considered an offensive explosion of four goals on Tuesday night. Calgary has done a little better in their first five games with an average of 2.60 goals a game-good enough for fifteenth best in the league.
There is no news to report on the status of All Star defenseman Marc Staal. Ryan McDonagh has been paired with Daniel Girardi, and has been showing why he was such a highly coveted prospect. Mark Giordano will be one to keep an eye on tonight, as he does a little bit of everything for the Calgary Flames.
It’s most likely Henrik vs Henrik tonight. The Rangers haven’t confirmed yet, but it is most likely going to be The King in net for them again. He is coming off of a forty save shutout victory in which he showed why he is the best in the league. Calgary is starting backup goalie Henrik Karlsson. Karlsson has only started one other game this season-an October 10th loss to the St. Louis Blues in which he yielded five goals. Perhaps this will be a good opportunity for the Rangers to keep padding those unimpressive offensive numbers.
The Rangers are the only team in the league without a powerplay goal, so the edge has to go to Calgary there, though they are only twelfth best at 18.8%. The Rangers have been very good shorthanded though, and are ranked seventh in the league compared to the eleventh best Calgary Flames, despite being on the PK five more times.
Former Ranger Olli Jokinen has points in all five of his team’s first games. A streak he would no doubt like to continue against the team that was happy to be rid of him.
Brandon Prust returns to Calgary for the first time since he was traded to New York. After being benched at the end of Tuesday’s game for taking an offensive zone penalty, he will be eager to make amends. I’m calling for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick from him tonight.
Ranger defenseman Tim Erixon was acquired by the Rangers in a trade with the Calgary Flames when Erixon decided he would rather go back into the entry draft than sign an entry level contact with the Flames. A former first round pick of Calgary, Erixon felt that he would not have a shot at making the Flames roster and he was eligible to go back into the draft. Rather than lose him for nothing, Calgary decided to trade him to the Rangers along with a fifth round pick for Roman Horak and two second round picks. Despite not making the team out of camp, Erixon was called into action due to injuries to Marc Staal and Michael Sauer.
Fight of the Night
Brandon Prust vs Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
Leblond’s first penalty in the NHL was for Too Many Names on the Ice.
Three Stars Prediction